It’s September, which can mean many things, but in this case it means a brand new NBA 2K22 game. This marks the first proper release for next gen consoles, and the first time you can play an expanded WNBA career mode, which is huge for fans of the W, which is about to celebrate its 25th season.
There’s lots of updates, new stuff and things that will change the way you play this classic franchise. So, let’s dive into all the big stuff you need to know about this year’s NBA 2K22.
What’s the difference between last-gen NBA 2K22 and next-gen?
Last year the old gen and new gen games were very different, with a whole new city and extra experiences. This year is like that, but more.
Last gen (what you’ll get on Xbox One, PS4, Switch) will be getting The Neighbourhood, which this year is going to be on a cruise ship. You can play hoops on the ship and participate in shoreside events, which actually sounds kinda cool, especially given how much time is wasted walking around The City to get to what you want to do.
The City is coming back to new gen (Xbox Series X|S and PS5) which will be an improved open world experience with PvP matchups, NPCs to interact with, and lots of stores to spend your hard-won microtransactions. There’s going to be an all-new quest system, new ways to level up, new rewards, and a better way to engage with the NBA 2K community. By the sounds of it, there’s also going to be skateboards to make traversing the world a bit quicker.
There won’t be any crossplay between generations or consoles, and only your MyTeam progression will travel with you from one console to the next (PS4 to PS5, for example).
Sadly, The W (the online WNBA portion you can read about below) is only going to be on new-gen consoles, giving even more motivation to upgrade.
What’s the major gameplay changes in NBA 2K22?
There are a ton of changes coming this year, far too many to list all of them, but these are some of the highlights:
- The shot contest and blocking systems have been completely rebuilt to allow for some different kinds of blocks and better rewards for basketball IQ. “Ghost contests” are gone, and you’re going to have to work harder on defence to earn those blocks, on the other hand, good defence will be more likely to end in air balls.
- Steal attributes will now mean more than ever, so if you’ve heavily invested in stealing, you should have a higher hit rate as long as you time it right.
- Most of the defensive AI has been rewritten to behave smarter and provide better building blocks for later years. Reading between the lines of how much they’re planning on building on this AI for games to come, it’s probably not going to be ideal in 2K22, but should provide a good foundation for future games.
- Dribbling has been improved to have more realistic animations when the stick is flicked as opposed to just being held. There are 32 dribble styles for the men’s league and 4 for the women’s, with the women’s dribble styles based on that of Seimone Augustus, Chelsea Gray, Arike Ogunbowale, and Gabby Williams.
- Post play has been upgraded with more fakes, particularly for big players.
The biggest change is the new shot meter, which will have a dynamically resizing window to give a clearer indication of the quality of your shooter and chosen shot. This is something that many players have been requesting for a while, so it’s good it’s finally coming to the game. Shooting is going to be more closely tied to Shot IQ and attributes, too.
You can read more about the gameplay changes in this developer blog.
NBA 2K22: Career
This year the career mode is going to be far more tied to The City than other years. In previous games you played your single-player mode with a story, and then only ventured into the city/neighbourhood if you wanted multiplayer or boosts from the Gatorade gym. Now with the new quest system in The City, it’s all going to be one and the same. This year’s story will see your MyPlayer character exploring life outside basketball more with forays into fashion and film.
The full story hasn’t been detailed yet, which is a bit unusual, and there’s no word on how this will work for the last-gen consoles, given they won’t be getting The City.
NBA 2K22’s WBNA mode
This isn’t the first time there’s been a single-player WNBA mode. NBA 2K21 had a MyPlayer builder and a very rudimentary “career mode”. This year’s game takes that to the next level by adding things to do between games, including training with some of the titans of the league, and massively upgrading player progression. It makes it more like the men’s career modes before the narrative cutscenes came into the picture. Some will be upset that the WNBA mode still isn’t given the same support as the men’s mode. Others will be pleased to have a way to avoid the story, which has been … mixed over the years.
The W Online is going to be the big thing, finally allowing players to play online with their characters. Unfortunately, this feature is just for folks with Xbox Series X|S and PS5. There’s also going to be a MyWNBA mode similar to the MyNBA mode which will focus on staffing, but details on that are few and far between.
You can read more about the WNBA in this dev blog.
NBA 2K22: All the new badges
Having heard the criticism from 2K21, Visual Concepts have made the badges more equitable across positions with more badge points awarded to players. The upgraded MyPlayer builder also makes it clearer how these badges will be earned and how many points you’ll need.
Here’s the list of the new badges from the Courtside Report:
- Fast Twitch – Ability to get off the floor quicker for standing layups and dunks
- Grace Under Pressure – Ability to convert standing layups more effectively
- Limitless Takeoff – Ability to soar from further away on driving dunk attempts
- Mouse in the House – Ability for bigs to finish over shorter players more efficiently
- Unstrippable – Ability to secure the ball better when gathering for a layup/dunk in traffic
- Chef – Ability to knock down Steph-like off-dribble deep 3’s
- Limitless Spot-up – Ability to hit logo-range 3’s off a catch and shoot
- Lucky #7 – Boosts your ability to score when shooting early in the clock
- Mismatch Expert – Ability to successfully shoot over taller defenders on a switch
- Glue Hands – Ability to make difficult catches and quicker branch out to a shot or dribble
- Hyperdrive – Boosts the speed and effectiveness of moving dribble moves
- Quick Chain – Boosts the ability to quickly chain dribble moves together
- Post Playmaker – Boosts the effectiveness of both shots and moves when playing in the post
- Triple Threat Juke – Increases the effectiveness of triple threat fakes, jabs, and go moves
- Ball Stripper – Ability to strip layup and dunk attempts more effectively
- Hustler – Ability to get to those scrappy 50/50 balls quicker than opponents
- Menace – Significantly drops the offensive ratings of opponents when you smother them
If you add those to the previous badges, there’s 80 badges in total, with existing badges also getting upgrades.
NBA 2K22’s Seasons
Seasons are coming back, and before you assume it’s yet another attempt to part you from your cash for season passes or battle passes or whatever, Visual Concepts were quick to reassure players that seasons would be free for all NBA 2K22 owners.
Seasons rewards are going to be a key part of levelling up not just in MyTeam as in previous years, but also in MyCareer and The W Online.
Season one will introduce go karts and rollerblades as rewards for The City. In The W rewards will include VC, clothing bundles, badges and, curiously, nail polish (just what every professional athlete dreams of). Hopefully the male basketball players will also be able to benefit from these nail polish rewards.
You can read more about NBA 2K22‘s seasons here.
NBA 2K22: Release Date
The global release of the game is Friday, September 10. As per usual, there’s a suite of digital consumables for everyone who pre-orders:
- 5,000 Virtual Currency
- 5,000 MyTEAM Points
- 10 MyTEAM Promo Packs (delivered one a week)
- A Boost for each MyCAREER Skill type
- A Boost for each Gatorade Boost type
- Luka Doncic MyPLAYER Jersey
- 95 Rated Luka Doncic MyTEAM Free Agent Card
NBA 2K22: Cover Athletes
There are plenty of cover athletes this year. Slovenian Luka Dončić, currently a point guard/small forward for the Dallas Mavericks, will be on the cover of the standard and cross-gen editions of the game. The NBA 75th Anniversary edition will have three legendary players: Mavericks stalwart Dirk Nowitski, NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Olympic legend and current Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Durant.
The WNBA 25th Anniversary Edition features Los Angeles Sparks legend and current Chicago Sky player, Candace Parker.
NBA 2K22 Trailers
NBA 2K22: Australian Price
VC will once again be a major part of NBA 2K, so some people will want to maximise the fun by getting a jump start with the 75th anniversary edition. But here’s the breakdown of what to expect from each.
Standard Edition ($79): You get the game on your console of choice.
WNBA Edition: You can’t get this in Australia, but it’s basically just the standard edition with a different cover.
Cross-Gen Digital Edition ($124.95):
- NBA 2K22 for Xbox Series X|S/PS5
- 10,000 MyTEAM Points
- 10 MyTEAM Tokens
- Sapphire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant MyTEAM Cards
- 22 MyTEAM Promo Packs (Receive 10 at launch, then 3 per week for 4 weeks)
- Diamond Jordan Shoe MyTEAM card
- Coach Card MyTEAM Pack
- 10 Boosts for each MyCAREER Skill Boost type
- 10 Boosts for each Gatorade Boost type
- 4 Cover Athlete T-Shirts for your MyPLAYER
- MyPLAYER backpack and arm sleeve
- Custom-design skateboard for MyPLAYER
NBA 75th Anniversary Edition ($139):
Includes NBA 2K22 Standard Edition (Digital Code)
- 100,000 VC
- 10x Boosts for each MyCAREER Skill type
- 10x Boosts for each GATORADE boost type
- 1x LUKA DONČIĆ Cover art T-Shirt
- 1x LUKA DONČIĆ Custom T-Shirt
- 1x LEGENDS Cover art T-Shirt
- 1x LEGENDS Athletes T-Shirt
- Exclusive Backpack
- Exclusive LUKA DONČIĆ Cover art Skateboard
- “Anyone, Anywhere” Design arm Sleeve
- 10K MyTEAM Points
- 10x MyTEAM Tokens
- 22x MyTEAM Promo Packs
10 Day 1 Packs – 1x Amethyst (or better card guaranteed)
- 3x Packs per week for 4 weeks (with new featured card each week)
- Triple Threat Starter Kit cards
1x Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Sapphire
1x Dirk Nowitzki Sapphire
1x Kevin Durant Sapphire
- 1x Diamond Jordan Shoe
- 1x Coach Card Pack
Alice Clarke is an award winning freelance journalist, producer and presenter, as well as co-curator of the PAX Aus Diversity Lounge. In her spare time she plays the drums, builds Lego, attempts to conquer the UK in Forza Horizon 4 and watches an unhealthy amount of television.